The successful general strike of February 4, 1952 gave new impetus to the struggle for Bangla among broad sections of Bangalees.
On February 20, through imposing Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code, the government announced a ban on gatherings of five or more persons as well as on possession of objects that might cause bodily harm to
people. The move led to second thoughts about the next day's programme among some students, who were of the view that Section 144 should not be violated. Indeed, twenty of the twenty four members of the All-Party State Language Committee of Action voted to call off the strike scheduled for 21 February. The remaining four did not agree with the majority.
The action committee's decision to back down in the face of Section 144 met with a negative response from the larger body of general students of Dhaka University. The situation reached a stage where the action committee felt it necessary to place the entire matter of the strike and Section 144 before the students for a final decision.
On the eve of February 21, it was tension which gripped not only the university campus but the entire city of Dhaka as well. The moment of reckoning was fast approaching.